Saint Nicholas and The Krampus

Posted on Thursday, November 30, 2017

Folklore shows that Saint Nicholas had companions, one of which being a demon-like figure called The Krampus. Saint Nicholas and The Krampus were known walk street blocks together. Saint Nicholas delivered gifts to good children as The Krampus delivered coal and birch branches to not so good children.

Dressed in red and sporting a flowing white beard, the European image of St. Nicholas- or Father Christmas or Père Noël- has much in common with his "cousin" Santa Claus. But it's not just "jolly old Saint Nick" who visits homes on Christmas Eve... At least not according to holiday tradition in Austria and Germany, where the good saint is accompanied on his rounds to bring gifts to good children by Krampus- a not-so-nice, demon-like creature who warns the naughty ones; you'll see him represented along with St. Nicholas on your travels to Christmas Markets throughout the region.

The Strasbourg Christmas Market

Posted on Thursday, November 23, 2017

Did you know The Strasbourg Christmas Market, which is dubbed "The Capital of Christmas" is the oldest Christmas Market that took place in Europe?

Steaming mulled wine... Gingerbread... Advent wreaths... A towering Christmas tree, dwarfed by soaring Strasbourg Cathedral... Nearly every street and building a glow with lights and decorations... Bredle, the tiny, traditional holiday cakes of Alsace...

The unmistakable sights, sounds, flavors, and smells of the Alsatian holidays surround you at Strasbourg's Marchés de Noël, the oldest and largest in France. A dozen themes markets fan out from the cathedral along the Grand Rue- the original Christkindelsmärik... The Bredle Market... the Kingdom of the Wine Growers... The Children's Village... The Village of Sharing and others.

Artisans show off their wares in stalls that stretch on as far as the eye can see... And the ancient heart of this canal-crossed city is bathed in gold! A lecture on local storytelling traditions and a guided walk through La Petite France round out your unforgettable day in Strasbourg.


Tips For Visiting Europe’s Christmas Markets

Posted on Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The coldest months in Europe can be the best time to visit this region simply for the Christmas markets. Those who travel to Europe in the winter can enjoy the markets as well as less crowds and cheaper fares. There’s just something about visiting a Christmas market when snow is blanketing the ground and you're all bundled up. You should make it a point to visit at least one Christmas market during your lifetime. I will warn you though that you might find that once is simply not enough. These tips will help any first time visitor to one of Europe’s exquisite Christmas markets.

What To Wear
No matter which Christmas market you visit in Europe, there’s a good chance that it will be rather cold. Many of the markets are mainly outdoors. This can make for a very uncomfortable experience if you aren’t prepared. You don’t want to find yourself rushing through the market because you are cold. Make sure you have an adequate jacket to keep you warm. Don’t forget gloves, a hat, scarf and thick socks. If you do find yourself having difficulty dealing with the cold, try to find a stall that sells a warm drink or head indoors for a bit if you can. It doesn’t matter how great the bargains are, it’s not worth getting frostbite.


How To Shop
Many of the Christmas markets have numerous stalls to visit. You should be able to find a lot of items that catch your eye. If you do happen to find something that you simply can’t live without, purchase it. Don’t take it to chance that it will still be there later on. I know you may not want to lug around a bunch of items while at the market, but you also don’t want to miss out on something because you didn’t want to carry it. You can make your time at the market easier by bringing a bag to carry some of these items. Also, before you shop at the market, have a plan. Try to find a map of the market online or at your destination. This will allow you to map out what stalls you want to visit first and help you come up with a game plan to make that happen.


Paying For Your Items
Some stalls will be able to accept credit or debit cards. However, you should opt to have cash on hand. It will make the process go a lot quicker and you won’t have to worry about any hefty fees. Just make sure you carry small bills and that you store some of your money in separate compartments in your wallet or purse so that you aren’t flashing a big wad of cash which will make yourself a target for pickpockets.

The Riquewhir Christmas Market

Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2017

Did you know that The Riquewhir Christmas Market is a private Christmas Market? The Riquewhir Christmas Market is held privately inside an historical winemaker's property located in the heart of the city.

Aside from the electricity that lights up its intimate Christmas Market every December, this Alsatian village hasn't changed much since its days as a Winzerdorf (wine village) in the 16th century. Fortified by glühwein, you'll stroll among stalls laden with crafts and local delicacies, set among historic half-timbered houses and shops dressed in yuletide finery... it's like a fairy tale come to life!

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The Rudesheim Christmas Market

Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2017

Asbach Uralt Brandy, which is not only made in Rudesheim, but exclusively made with Rudesheim's exquisite coffee is available throughout the Rudesheim Christmas Market!

Holiday carols, children's laughter, carousels... the season's joyful noises reverberate across this little town on the Rhine as you browse the shops and stalls of its Weihnachtsmarkt, winding their way through its quaint cobblestone streets; the largest nativity scene in Europe adorns the market square. Even the Drosselgasse, a narrow lane famed for its wine bars, is all done up in yuletide green and gold. Heart-shaped lebkuchen, local favorites like schweinebraten and jagerschnitzel- and especially Rüdesheim Coffee, laced with locally produced brandy- tempt your taste buds. While in Rüdesheim, visit the unique Siegfrieds Mechanisches Musikkabinett, housed in a centuries-old castle.

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